Why should you know your trade partner?

You need to be certain that your trade partner will deliver quality workmanship and products, on-time, on-budget. Anything less and your bottom-line and your reputation are at risk. Your trade partner should take quality control as seriously as you do. Time is money so delivering certainty to your schedule means more than just showing up, but also showing up and doing it right.
Does the trade partner have a documented quality control and assurance program? And when the inevitable problem happens, do they have a process for catching problems, resolving the issue and then learning from the problem to prevent it from reoccurring? Can they share their process with you?

Below is our catalog, this is to enable our partners who who we are.

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Diseases of ornamental marine fish.

The causative factors of fish diseases can be grouped under six broad categories:

1. Internal to the individual – genetic diseases

2. Environment associated diseases (such as critical intensities of light/temperature/pH/ dissolved gases) 3. Physical injuries (ex: handling/transporting)

4. Nutritional diseases (ex: deficiency syndromes)

 5. Co-existing organisms (biological entities)

6. A combination of a few or all factors indicated above.

General methods to detect the health of fish in field conditions:

  1. Visual examination is one of the quickest and least costly and requires a well-trained eye. But it need not be highly reliable. Some of the quick indicators are given below:

 External: Reflexes: In healthy fishes, reflexes will be quick such as: Escape reflex, Eye reflex and Tail reflex. The other types of symptoms may be: Sluggish behaviour Twirling, spiral or erratic movements Faded or darkened pigmentation Exophthalmus or ‘pop eye’ condition Hemorrhages Erosion of jaw or mouth Gill parasites, gill erosions, white nodules Tailor fin rot Distended abdomen (Dropsy) Protruded anus (vent) Blood oozing Ulcers/boils (furuncles) External parasites Cotton wool like growth.

Internal: Gas . filled hollows Ascitic fluid in the abdominal cavity Hemorrhages in the muscle wall/air bladder/ internal organs Liquid in the air bladder White nodules in internal organs Swelling of organs (Kidneys, liver etc.,)

  • Microscopic and Histologic examination: Impression smear or wet mount preparation can be examined using a light microscope. This is a rapid and inexpensive diagnostic tool. This method is good for observing motile bacteria and protozoa. More specific information can also be obtained from histological method when special stains are applied to the tissue sections. But it is slow and expensive. It also requires a trained technician, and some times fails to yield a definitive diagnosis.
  • Bacterial isolation: A sample is taken and either streaked on agar – based medium or introduced into a liquid broth containing a mixture of specially designed ingredients. Some media are also designed to allow the selective growth of certain bacteria from a potential mixture of pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria. General morphologic classification of the bacteria can be made based on the colony size, shape, color and smell. For more exact identification, biochemical characterization is often used. In this, a single purified colony is assayed for its ability to metabolize a variety of different minerals, chemicals and food sources. This is a very specific diagnostic method. However, it requires days or even weeks obtaining the results, and not all bacteria will grow on defined medium.
  • Tissue culture: As viruses cannot grow or multiply unless they are within living cells, cell cultures allow the diagnostician to grow many types of viruses in the laboratory. A sample is homogenized and added to the cells in the tissue culture flask. If virus is present in the sample, it causes the Cytopathic Effect (CPE). However, cell cultures have been developed only for some fint’ish, but not for shellfish. Rapid diagnostic tests for detecting fish pathogens: In order to prevent outbreaks, minimize the presence of pathogens and to reduce the use of antimicrobial compounds, rapid detection of pathogen is essential. They are further advantageous since the tests are: a. speedy, sensitive and accurate, b. presumptive and/or confirmatory, c. be micro-modified for inexpensive handling of large number of individuals and small volume samples, d. require non-destructive samples, e. yield qualitative and quantitative results. The results obtained from such tests can be correlated with the other clinical symptoms of the fish. Some of the important rapid diagnostic tests are given below:

1. Immuno-diagnostic assays such as Monoclonal & Polyclonal antibody assays.

 2. Direct fluorescent antibody test (d-fat)

3. Enzyme immuno assays (EIAs) or ELISA

4. Dot immunobinding assay

5. Western Blotting technique

6. The Latex agglutination assay

7. DNA – based diagnostic tests

8. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests.

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Gas bubbles
Lymphocystis on fins


Acanthostracion polygonius

This unusual reef fish has an armor of heavy hexagonal scales covering much of its body, and an elongated caudal peduncle (tail stem) with rounded fins. It has a small, puckered mouth and tiny ‘horns’ over its eyes, with a sloped face and pronounced forehead, giving it its bovine name.
Order – Tetraodontiformes
Family – Ostraciidae
Genus – Acanthostracion
Species – polygonius

Common Names:
Common names in the English language cowfish and trunkfish. Other common names include baiacu-de-chifre (Portuguese), botelia (Spanish), coffre polygone (French), cofre (Spanish), peixe-cofre (Portuguese), peixe-vaca (Portuguese), torito (Spanish), torito hexagonal (Spanish), and torito panal (Spanish).

The cowfish live in the clear waters of coral reef habitats at depths of 10-262 feet (3-80 m).

Distinctive Features:
The triangular body is nearly enclosed in a “carapace” consisting of thickened hexagonal scale plates that are firmly attached to each other with the exception of the cheeks to allow for respiration movements. There are openings in the carapace for the mouth, eyes, gills, fins, and the flexible caudal peduncle.
There is one pair of scales in front of the eyes. The terminal mouth is small with fleshy lips and the gill openings are short with slits located in front of the bases of the pectoral fins. There are no pelvic fins and the caudal fin is distinctly rounded.

The teeth of the cowfish are moderate and conical in shape with usually less than 15 teeth in each jaw.

Size, Age, and Growth:
The maximum length of the cowfish is 19.7 inches (50.0 cm) total length (TL), although it more commonly reaches lengths of 9.8 inches (25.0 cm) TL.

Food Habits
The honeycomb cowfish feeds on marine invertebrates including shrimp, tunicates, and sponges.

Very little is known about reproduction within the family Ostraciidae. However, it has been observed that this species forms social harems consisting of one male along with only two females.

Larger fish are potential predators of the cowfish, however it may be undesirable as a prey item due to its protective external armor, the carapace.

Three monogeneans parasites have been reported from the cowfish: Haliotrema minutum, H. torridum and H. kritskyi nom. nov.

You can get the cowfish and many more marine fish at Kenya Marine Center.


Most of the tropical fish in domestic aquariums up to almost 99% of them are wildly caught and transported to the retailers and wholesalers within 24-48 hours.

Removing fish suddenly from their natural habitat exposes them to stress from which some of them die. Moreover, during transportation some marine fish those that survive could have diseases and pass the same to the fish already in the aquariums.

Adaptation tom the new environment could be a bit problematic and so their defense mechanism is often weakened to an extent that they are more susceptible to diseases. This is why the quarantine tank are very important.

Using a microscope, the skin and gill smears or fins and gill parts are examined in seawater on slides. In seawater, the structure of cells, bacteria and parasites remain intact while they can be damaged in freshwater. However, freshwater can be used to examine internal organs.

Many large-scale symptoms of diseases are very similar and can easily lead to mistaken choice of drug treatment, with possibly harmful consequences.

Microscopic review of the diseases gives one a clear concept of the disease.


  1. Two dissecting needles
  2. One small and one large pair of scissors
  3. One scapel with replaceable blades
  4. One sharp and one blunt pincer
  5. Eye-dropper containing aquarium water

How to kill fish:

The fastest and the surest way to kill fish to cut deeply into its neck with a knife or scissors.

To detect pathogens on skin or skill, carefully scrap the mucus layer with a scalpel and place it into aquarium water on a slide then cover with the cover slip.

Afterwards, the gill cover can be cut away to expose the gill. Some gill tissue can be removed with the scissors or pincers, placed into a drop of seawater on a slide, and covered by a cover slip.

If necessary, the fish can be dissected:

  • Cut the stomach open, with scissors, from anus to gills without damaging the internal organs.
  • Beginning with the anus, open up the side of the fish to the edge of the gill cover.
  • After removing cut skin, the internal organs are exposed for examination.

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The coral reefs of the Indian waters are known for its rich diversity of soft corals. The soft corals are a rich source of biologically active compounds as most of them are found to possess anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour and cytotoxic properties.

The dynamic appearance and colouration have also made them important additions in the marine aquarium, particularly in the reef tanks which is gaining lot of popularity the world over. However, most of the soft corals used in the marine aquarium trade are collected from the wild, which in the long run will not be sustainable. The propagation and culture of soft corals in captivity is the only solutionto meet the demand of the hobbyists. The propagation in captive conditions also helps in restoration of degraded reefs.

Despite how promising propagation may seem for sustainable practice, its cost implications and other underlying factors must be considered. Our aquariums are located two kilometers away from the the Indian ocean this is influenced by the robust tourism activities taking place at the coastal beaches of Kenya. In order to maintain almost the exact conditions as required by the species and to obtain the expected results, intensive and integrated techniques have to be implemented.

Currently we are culturing a lot of soft coral species and with the eminent improvement we might increase the size of our aquariums soon. Dermands are high for the soft corals and we are still dedicated to meet them.

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Cleaner Shrimp

Cleaner shrimps exhibit a cleaning symbiosis with the fish in the aquarium where the shrimp clean parasites from the fish. The fish benefit by having parasites removed from them, and the shrimp gain the nutritional value of the parasites. The shrimp also eat the mucus and parasites around the wounds of injured fish, which reduces infections and helps healing. The action of cleansing further aids the health of client fish by reducing their stress levels. In many coral reef, cleaner shrimp congregate at cleaning stations.

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Sustainability and growth in the industry of marine ornamental trade are two factors which are very essential. Kenya Marine Center; one of the largest exporters of marine ornaments in the world is affected by these two industry indicators, in order to ensure a healthy and reliable business environment we have to always advocated for sustainability in our business operations to foot for surety in business growth. Sustainability and growth are correlative giving a wide platform for measurements and observations. We have been in this industry for the 11 years exporting marine fish from the Indian Ocean (E.A) to most parts of the world and 2 years practicing offshore mariculture of soft corals. We have grown in size and in knowledge with an increasing clientele list importing the variety of marine ornaments in our stocks.

This impressive milestone is accomplished through a team of experienced, competent and aggressive marine biologists. This dedicated team conducts researches and apply varied innovations to ensure growth and development towards improving the quality of our marine fish and soft corals that we export to our clients.

Various successful experiments conducted by this team motivated them to start a marine biology club with the intentions of providing a knowledge base to share, learn and contribute to the emerging and important factors in the industry of marine ornamental trade.

This knowledge base will be focusing on influencing the trade of marine ornaments from a biological aspect. Several topics on marine biology have been discussed and expounded with most biologists working towards species developments and modifications. This club will not be disputing any work from any biologist but will be providing results of the researches and experiments done at Kenya Marine Center with our species.

Contributions: This marine biology club is an open group, which will appreciate various contributions from other marine biologists. As the intentions are very clear, this is a knowledge base and knowledge is universal and varied but opinions are personal and must be respected.

Some major topics that we shall be focusing on include:

Population Genetics of Marine Organisms.

A major contribution of population genetic studies to marine biology has been the identification of sibling or cryptic biological species within morphologically defined taxa.

Marine Organisms/species.

Research on specific marine species/organism evolution, their uniqueness etc.

Microplastics in Marine Food Web.

Although microplastics are a relatively new topic in the environmental sciences, researchers have been able to learn from the experimental approaches and understanding gleaned from the fields of ecotoxicology, marine biology, and aquatic chemistry.


How do organisms in the marine environment move, get energy, or reproduce? How do they adapt to the stresses of their environment? How do they interact with each other? When we examine processes, we think about the physiology of an organism (i.e, how does it work?) as well as how that organism is similar to or different from other life in the ocean. This can advance our understanding of marine life.

Habitats and Ecosystems.

Marine life does not exist alone. It is part of a complex system of interactions with other organisms and the physical environment. Studying the ‘big picture’ through ecology or oceanography is a critical part of marine biology.

Changing Oceans.

The oceans are constantly changing due to the natural cycles of tides or seasons to longer-term changes in global climate. Humans influence change in the oceans as societal and economic forces drive what we take out of the ocean and what we put in. Marine Biologists have an important voice in decisions about conservation and marine policy.




Quality marine fish from Kenya Marine Center.

Most exporters of the ornamental fish value numbers, of course in the trade numbers make sense. However, there has been an observable increase in low quality due to the high competition to meet these high numbers. At Kenya Marine Center we value both but emphasize on quality because the latter influences the numbers. Here’s what we do to provide to you quality marine fish.

1: Fishing methods.

  • Traditional Fishing Method

Our traditional fishing ensures our fishers carefully select how and what they want .This causes less damage to the marine habitats where the fish live, Great care must be considered because the fish need to be alive and in good condition in order to travel around the world and must be healthy upon delivery.


  • Diving/ Snorkeling

Divers are restricted to hand picking and to using of hand nets to collect fish and corals.

  • Hand picking

This is usually for sedentary fish, starfish, crustaceans and sea cucumbers at the seashore.

2: Fishing equipment.

Right from the ocean to the aquariums, our fish are handled by the most proficient and modernized equipment operated by very well trained personnel. A lot of attention still has to be paid to the fish amid its transit from the ocean to our aquariums in order to lower the stress levels of the fish to avoid death and disease to the fish.

3: Transportation of the fish.

To promote sustainability, our practice is offshore. The aquariums are located 2KMS away from the ocean. After fishing, the fish are transported to the aquariums using our trucks fitted with the right storage tanks. During shipment, there are special designated trucks that are used to transport fish to the airport from where our airline agents take up to deliver to respective destinations.

4: Aquariums.

Practicing offshore is cost intensive and labor demanding, having qualified personnel who understand the interest of the marine fish is another great boost to our fish quality. Our aquariums are very modernized and maintained with a full length of proper servicing and water flow system for good air circulation and cooling of the aquariums.

5: Quarantine and treatment.

With the guidance of our marine biologist, the fish are checked and quarantined to keep it away from any possible parasites and diseases.

6: Shipment and delivery.

We do not just rely on shipping out a lot of numbers to the market but we emphasize on quality. DoA is a major issue to the industry and one of the underlying factors influencing it is irresponsible shipment and poor delivery procedures. Relying on our client’s reports, most of our marine fish arrive safe and in the expected condition. Even though at the beginning we had challenges with a lot of disappointing reports on DoA, after realizing how important it is to have a proper shipment and delivery system, the DoA reports have reduced and our fish quality is among the best in the world.

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Exporters and importers of marine ornaments have different experiences regarding shipping issues, some are bad experiences and others might be good experiences. All these depend on a number of logistical and functional structures and procedures entrusted with these experiences.
Our experience as exporters of ornamental live fish, part of the job requirement is to meet industry standards of quality, and the best way to be sure of this is through effective and efficient reaction to customer’s needs.
Below are five shipping problems exporters of live fish experience and their solutions:

  • Arrival Tim

Shipping goods across an international platform requires attention and knowledge of different time zones in the world.
The best time in this case is the time the client is comfortable with receiving his shipment. However, the burden on the exporter is not only limited to finding a good flight solution but also finding the flight in itself can be a challenge. Most freight companies avoid shipping out live animals hence limited options.
Plan with the client and with the freight agents in time and advice the client in due time of the options available and the best way forward. Be in total control of communication from the time the shipment leaves your hands to the time the client receives it.

  • Shipping Capacity

Sometimes floodgates open and the sales and customer service desk receive a lot of buzz from prospective clients giving their orders. This is usually not a bad thing as it is always an exporters wish to have more clients. However, this can turn out to be an exporter’s nightmare if not carefully handled. As stated before, the problem lies with airlines that are not willing to undertake shipping of live animals. This can be a headache to an exporter, in bid to assure of perfect customer service.
Networking, good relations and conducting target-marketing strategies aimed at airlines. A good marketing team will ensure that you always find accommodation on all popular flights. Having a professional team around you will always yield results.

  • Size of Shipments

The size of shipment is a motivating factor to all exporters; large shipments are commerce friendly to the three parties; exporter, client and the freight company. The reverse for smaller shipments, the exporters is always advised to encourage the client to increase their size of shipment.

  • Poor handling of shipments

Upon receiving a shipment, every client expects their order to arrive in perfect condition, if not then a series of blame games might emerge and the freight company might incur other charges for damages. Repeated mistakes should me considered keenly and maybe a change of the involved freight company could be a better solution. It is upon to the best interest to provide excellent services as required by the client.

  • 100% fulfillment of all orders

The exporter should be at a position to deliver the order from a client; there is no fair grounds for this argument. Disappointments might erupt mistrusts and disloyal issues, which are very fundamental in this industry. Before a client orders any product from the stock-list, the exporter should be a position to notify the client any absentia from the stock-list. There is no necessity of allowing a client to order what you do not contain.

Striated surgeonfish

Amazing ways on how we keep our fish happy at Kenya Marine Center

A happy fish is a healthy fish.  And keeping fish healthy is our number one priority at Kenya marine center. Are you curious to know the reason behind our high quality fish at Kenya marine center and how we have achieved that? I will share with you our secret. Having Over a decade of experience in the fish industry we have gained informative skills and strategies that have played a great role in improving our fish health.

The key thing we avoid in order to keep our fish happy is stress. A stressed fish is susceptible to diseases that jeopardize their health. At Kenya Marine center we go out of our way to ensure our fish are in a relaxed environment. We enjoy seeing our fish swimming freely and radiant in our holding facility before export.

Below are some tips to make your fish happy

Fish Acclimation

Acclimation is the process of accustoming the aquatic species to your aquarium water. At Kenya Marine Center we acclimate fish brought in from the wild before introducing them to our system as we prepare them for export. This process is important because fish from the wild are adapted to ocean water which has a slight difference in parameters from the one in our holding facility. Introducing fish in your aquarium water abruptly might lead to stress or PH shock. That’s why we must acclimate our fish at Kenya Marine Center.

How we acclimate our fish at KMC

Drip line Method

In this method we float the fish bag for about 15 minutes in our aquarium water to equalize the water temperature. Then we pour the contents in a bucket and set up a drip line from the aquarium to the bucket. We ensure the water slowly flows into the bucket. Once the water level in the bucket is double that of actual fish bag water, we dispose half of the water without harming the fish and repeat the process. When the process is over, the fish is now ready for its new environment.

Water quality.

Water entails the whole fish environment and thus plays the main role in fish health.  Fish put in poor condition get easily stressed. At Kenya Marine Center, we avoid this by ensuring all water parameters necessary for fish are observed in the holding facility and during transportation. We test our water frequently and this keeps us alert on what’s happening in our holding facility at any given time. It enables us monitor our fish and detect any suspicious behavior or fish discomfort and hence take corrective measures with immediate effect. We ensure to keep our water safe and suitable for our fish to keep them happy and healthy

Here are the major water parameters we observe, on a daily basis.

PH: 7.6-8.4

Temperature: Optimal range 24° C to 27° C

Salinity: Specific Gravity:  Broad range 1.025

Ammonia (NH3): Zero

Nitrite (NO2): Zero

Nitrate (NO3): Ideally Zero to 25ppm

Dissolved Oxygen: >6.90 mg/L


Good Nutrition

Fish should be fed healthy, that you can read in every book. But what is healthy feeding? It’s ensuring your fish eat good quality food which is a must if you want them healthy. Good nutrition boosts fish immunity making them resistible to diseases. At Kenya Marine Center we are careful on selecting fish feeds as we understand that every fish has its own demands and needs, for instance, Doctor and tangs like vegetable based food while lions are predators. This strong opposition on feeding behavior force us to act on it.

We are also very careful on the amount of food we provide for our fish. We ensure to provide just enough. Feeding too much can be risky. The leftover food decomposes in water altering the water parameters hence creating an uncomfortable environment for fish which causes stress. Underfeeding on the other hand will result to emaciated fish.

Fishes who go in export are exempted from feeding for 24 – 48 HRS.

Our Biological department watch the feeding 7 days a week as it is a daily task.





Regular Treatment

A fish holding facility works different from a home aquarium and we as exporters have to react on it.

In mass animal keeping, sanitation is a very important point. Out of this reason we have to do a regular treatment program for the whole facility.

We have been practicing this over the past ten years which has played a big role in keeping our fish parasites free and healthy. Ensuring our fish are in a safe and suitable environment has increased their quality as well.


Generally, we have been kin in observing all of the above and that’s how we have managed to have the best quality fish over the ten years. Our commitment to making our fish happy and healthy has resulted to us having the most admirable and happy fish. To sum it up keeping your fish happy is ensuring they are in a comfortable environment and knowing the right way to treat them. It is important to take care of your fish if you want them to stay healthy and of good quality.